WAYNE STATIC REMEMBERED
1965 – 2014
Over the past few weeks, most music fans have been attending various fall festivals, with November seeing us all returning back to the grind of daily life. But in the past few days, something has occurred that I don’t think any of us would have expected… the former frontman and progenitor of “evil disco” metal pioneers Static X, has died. At first, you might think that this sort of thing is normal in the kind of “live fast, due young” mentality that we expect for rock music, but in reality it’s not so cut and dry. Because unlike Gwar frontman David Brockie who may have defeated several monsters in his life, but lost to his heroin addiction earlier this year; Wayne Static died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes. Keep in mind that he recorded the Pighammer record as a sort of message to rock stars to “kick the habit” that he himself had finally kicked around the same time. It’s definitely a difficult time for fans of that scene and of his music, which was unlike anything else being crafted in the Nu-Metal genre at the time. My memories of Wisconsin Death Trip like many all started with that infamous “Push It” video. I’m sure you’ve seen it, as oblong riffs barrel right into Wayne’s signature quick-tongued lyrics. None of us would forget anything like that, whether or not we considered it incredible or just plain silly. Then I eventually got the record and was able to experience such classics as “I’m With Stupid” and “Bled For Days.” But that was just the start of something great, as Machine soon released and brought in an even greater amount of precision as it thundered along as one of the band’s heaviest efforts to date. Being a literal “harder, stronger, faster” version of the debut, Machine really helped to cement the bond between industrial and heavy metal music, in a way that had not been done before. Even its title track felt a bit ghastly, making me think of a literal “ghost in the machine” as I listened. One can tell that the goal for the album was to sound as machine-like as humanly possible and that was certainly achieved. After the release of Machine however, the band wanted to take a new turn into more mainstream realms which included the use of clean vocal choruses and radio-friendly elements. But make no mistake, as Shadow Zone was definitely a Static-X album even with catchier tracks like “The Only” as it still featured plenty of blistering mayhem with “Destroy All” and “Otsegolectric.” Some issues with the band occurred after that, though Start A War still managed to release. Though it was a rather solid album, not a lot of people appreciated it and it seems to be one of the band’s underdog albums. Several different styles were utilized on the record however, meaning that it was an experimental new effort as the band took on new territory after truly breaking ground with Shadow Zone. But then something amazing happened and the band released their arguably heaviest album to date in Cannibal. Little needs to be said about this short, but explosive release as it showed the band ascending to new heights all the while recapturing their trademark sound and style as featured on the first two discs. It was also the first album to contain guitar solos and an absolute beast of an album from start to finish. If you’ve not heard Cannibal yet, then you’re clearing missing out on one of the fastest and most brutal industrial metal albums to have ever been released. This record I felt held the rekindled spirit of the band and it was definitely the true successor to Machine. After this monolith released, we got one more offering in the form of Cult Of Static. This final offering from Static-X continued the same fast and loud heavy metal approach, as even Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine was called into to add a solo to album standout, “Lunatic.” This record featured more electronic elements, but was nonetheless still very heavy. It was certainly a rather potent note to end the Californian industrial metallers decade long career. But it wasn’t over yet, as one final musical note was added as we return back to Pighammer. Anyone who’s heard Pighammer will have immediately put to bed those rumors that Wayne Static had died due to a drug overdose, because the album literally represented his metamorphosis from a drug addict to a clean and sober individual. It was a very personal album, albeit built on a very bizarre and somewhat comical concept and you could tell that explaining it with this sort of symbolism made it much easier for him to address these matters in his own life. The record itself wasn’t his strongest effort, but it still rounded out pretty solid and saw his legacy closed on what I feel is a truly unfinished note. We could have literally had more from him, as he remarked in a later interview that he was indeed ready to work on a follow-up after Pighammer. Forty-eight is an awfully young age to leave from this world, but far be it from me to scold fate and demand that he be brought back in order to continue his legacy. (Even though I’d sooner offer untalented hacks like Justin Bieber and Ke$ha for a chance to bring real talent like Wayne Static to the world.) Let us not forget the electricity that he gave us and his literal futurisms in the melding of man and machine. Sure, you might have been able to point him out in a crowd of a million people due to his fantastic haircut, but let’s not mistake the man’s talent and insurmountable legacy for his outward appearance. There will never be another man on this earth like the great industrial legend and we can still hear glimpses of his influence in modern industrial acts today which means that his work will live on for several years to come, deep within the mechanical tinkerings of future industrial metal and rock generations.
Now let us all pay tribute to his memory the way that metalheads do best, with a 100% completely free and 100% completely awesome memorial concert streaming at www.bigtimebroadcasting.com, as well as below (January 20th @ 10pm PST).
Wayne Static will indeed be missed, but this is guaranteed proof that the music will live on forever!